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After Majestic, Splendid and Fantastic, came the baptism of the fourth vessel in the fleet of Grandi Navi Veloci, Grimaldi Group
by Stefano Fermi (14-7-98)
The fourth vessel
The baptism of the Excellent, which was to be officially delivered to shipowner Aldo Grimaldi by the Nuovi Cantieri Apuania yards of Marina di Carrara, was celebrated at Ponte Assereto in Genoa, on Saturday May 23rd. The godmother to the ship has been Mrs Alessandra Romeo Grimaldi, the shipowner's third child.
The fourth vessel in the fleet, the Excellent (202 metres long with a tonnage of 37,000 tons, 2250 passengers, 1000 cars and 2000 metres of trailers) is the largest in the Grandi Navi Veloci fleet, introduced in 1993 in the Mediterranean by the Grimaldi Group for the coasting trade, full-blown cruise ships with ample vehicle storage space, offering record performance characteristics, maximum safety for passengers and top quality hotel comforts.
Excellent maintains the essential characteristics of her three previous sisters, Majestic, Splendid and Fantastic, but differs from these through her further increase in passenger capacity, higher quality standards, a distribution scheme increasing the availability of public spaces and an even more refined d╦cor.
Costing more than 200 billion liras, the Excellent started operating on the new Genoa-Olbia itinerary from June, allowing Italian and foreign tourists heading for Sardinia to reach the Island in 10 hours accompained by their own cars, taking a holiday in advance thanks to the luxurious facilities and the ship's on-board entertainment.
At the end of the summer, the M/s Excellent will sail the Genoa-Palermo route, to substitute for the Fantastic, to guarantee with the Splendid the daily connection with Sicily (Genoa-Palermo, daily 19 hour trip).
Following the experience developed with the first three vessels the new ship presents something more than her previous sisters.
The length, the number of cabins and the space of the public areas has increased.
The same time the style has evolved, the shapes have been embellished, the distribution schemes and planning aspects have been perfected, the furnishing and d╦cor have been refined.
202.17 metres long (13 more than the previous cruise-ferries) and 28 metres wide, Excellent has also grown in height: indeed, deck 11 has been added in the fore area.
She can transport up to 2,250 passengers, 1,415 of whom housed in 387 cabins on the four upper decks; 38 double suites, 83 outside-facing, 262 outside-facing, 4 inside-facing for the disabled, each with private bathroom, sophisticated to even the smallest detail and endowed with every comfort (adjustable air conditioning, TV, both closed-circuit and for satellite broadcasts, wired radio, 24-hour room service).
In the 4 spacious garages on the low decks there is room for 1000 cars and 2000 metres of trailers.
178 people comprise the standard crew of the Excellent, plus of course the entertainment staff. The chefs are all Italian.
Decks and public spaces
The bridge has been moved to deck 11 (along with all the accessory rooms, and also the officers' accomodation), the whole of deck 10 has been transformed and has had its public spaces enlarged: the new grand "Bar Mirador" has been positioned in an incredible panoramic location in the forward area.
To the stern of the fabulous space, as well as the huge "Palladio Convention Hall", is the "CardRoom" and the "Le Vele" Library.
Proceeding further to stern, the four seat halls dedicated to great Italian composers - Puccini, Rossini, Verdi, Vivaldi - are extensively developed in width, whereas the "Aladdyn" Kindergarden, whose artistic-decorative setting is inspired by the character from the Thousand and One Nights, is larger and better equipped.
In the fore area between decks 9 and 8, the ship's distribution of spaces has completely changed.
A large ring, with a circular walkway, closed of by a very bright cylindrical window stands above and embraces from above the area of the Swimming-Pool on deck 8, which is reached quickly and easily via a picturesque helicoidal stairway.
Also the "Fitness Club" on Deck 9, closed by a large transparent cylindrical 'container' facing onto the Swimming-pool, is extended and embellished by new equipment.
Other surprises are to be found on the Pacific Deck (Deck 7), which is reserved for the 'saloons', starting with the "Great Hall", at the centre of which stands triumphantly a spectacular two-flight stairway collecting the Hall directly with the upper area of the "Lido", the swimming-pool, the veranda (where the "Pacific Cafe'" is situated) and the "Ice Dream" ice-cream parlour.
Astern of the Hall, the 'ř la carte restaurant' "L'Orangerie", of noteworthy dimensions (210 seats), extends decisively along the aft side.
Fore of the Hall, the grand "Cafeteria Mediterranea" is structured with shaped wings and curved barriers, which create cosy corners giving the setting a feeling of privacy and intimacy.
In the cafeteria area there is also space for the second restaurant, "Grissini", which can be kept properly separate from the cafeteria or else be functionally integrated depending on the particular use of the ship.
The large "Plaza Arcade" shopping center also has new features, onto which is connected the "Arts Piano Bar".
This area - the true heart and centrum of the whole Ship - is reached from two aft accesses and two fore ones, which cross over each other in an X shape.
There are four shops: the "Bazar Chic", the "Duty Free", the "Photo Shop" and the "Boutique". Again in the mall is the "Dream Machine" casino.
Heading forwards, access is gained then to the "Olympia Party Saloon", even richer and larger.
Its central part, with armchair and sofas arranged in a cavea formation, has a more markedly theatrical appearance, while there are comfortable lounge areas in the raised side "Terracing". The fore "Observation Lounge" has also been further developed, holding a greater number of passengers, but secluded and moved astern with respect to the saloon.
A particular mention is deserved for the "Miami Club" discotheque, located on Deck 4, which is now larger and more noticeably high tech.
To finish, the new 'man overboard' safety regulations - which requires the increasing of the number and dimensions of the staircases - have served to make the ship's stairways more grandiose and beautiful; the Excellent has 3 lifts and 2 moving walkways for passengers.
The architectural part of the Excellent has been designed by the Studio De Jorio of Genoa. The materials used for the futurishings and finishings, are the foundamental element of the ship's success.
More precious multi-coloured marble, rare wood essences, brass, ground glass mirrors have been used.
The predominance of warm colours - in shades from Bordeaux to rose beige on fabrics and carpets - contributes to creating a comfortable and sophisticated environment, in which passengers will find themselves pleasantly immersed.
From the stylistic standpoint, there is no lack of hints of Thirties inspirations, nor nods in the direction of Art Deco in some precious details of the "Cafeteria", the "Party Saloon", the "Lobbies" and the staircases.
An even more recherch╦ architectural design has been chosen for the ceilings.
Finally, the prestigious Excellent's interiors are embellished with works by famous artists, such as Concetto Pozzati, Gianmaria Potenza, Roberto Cosimi, Lino Di Vinci, Barbara Vagnozzi, Alessandro Gambuzza and Giorgio Facchini.
The Excellent only discharges into the sea refuse that has been extensively processed by a technologically advanced plant, which in the final stage of the process provides drinking water.
The solid and liquid wastes that are not treatable are first processed and then transported in watertight containers, destined for special vehicles on arrival in port and disposed of by authorized companies.
The costs of the equipment making the Excellent an 'ecological' ship amount to 10% of the cost of the vessel.
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